Raccoons are like humans in that, if you take a picture of them without warning, they might flip out on you. Taraka Larson learned this the hard way on Tuesday night when two raccoons—who just might have rabies—attacked her in Central Park.
Larson told Gothamist that she was enjoying a nice summer stroll soundtracked by Donna Summer when she came across "two little dance partners." It was all downhill from here. Not wanting to alarm them, she elected to simply watch from a distance. When they slowly started to approach, she says she "froze," but not before taking a picture of one of the raccoons and posting it to Instagram. That might've been the wrong move:
They kept getting closer, and they were sniffing my shoes, maybe they were smelling my cat, and I thought they would go away...And then one of them got on top of my shoes and got under the tongue of my shoe and then wrapped its claws around my leg and started to gnaw on my leg. Instinct took over and I just kicked it off and ran away. It felt weird. It threw me off-guard. It felt lost, deranged.
A concierge at the Plaza Hotel directed her to the closest urgent care facility, and from there, her next stop was Roosevelt Hospital. She says hospital staff was shocked that she was bitten by the rare phenomenon of a raccoon attack. "They get squirrel bites every so often, but not raccoons," she told Gothamist.
Fifteen shots later, Larson is a changed woman with advice that everyone should acknowledge: "Don't smell like trash, and if you see raccoons, run away." That's gospel right there.